Yoga for Anxiety

By Michael Wong

How have you been feeling lately? If you’ve felt a little out of whack, you’re not alone. 2020 has been one heck of a year, and with all the uncertainty, anxious feelings are quite normal. Looking for ways to feel more grounded?

Here are 3 yoga poses that might help ease anxiety.


1. Standing forward fold

This is technically an inversion, which can be really soothing for anxious energy. When your heart is above your head in an inversion, it can help to get the blood flowing more easily. Be careful if you have low blood pressure though and take extra care to come up slowly.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart, allow your upper body to fold at the hips and relax your neck so that your head hangs heavy. Bent knees are a great option. You can either simply allow your upper body to release, or maybe grab hold of either elbow and gently sway from side to side. Hold here for 1-3 minutes, coming to stand on an exhale while slowly stacking your spine so that your head arrives at the top last with a roll of your shoulders.

2. Supported bridge pose

Bridge is a great versatile yoga pose as you can make it energising or nurturing, depending on what you need. To soothe anxiety, slide a block or bolster underneath your sacrum to support your body.

Start by lying on your back with your feet hip distance apart and arms alongside your body. As you take a deep breathe in, peel your spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time. As you exhale, place your bolster or block underneath your sacrum and let it hold your weight. You can stay here for 3-5 minutes. To come out, inhale as you gently lift your sacrum off the support, releasing your spine to the floor as you exhale. Take your feet wide allowing your knees to knock together for a few breaths.

3. Legs-up-the-wall pose

This is a really nice pose to do before you go to sleep, and incorporating it with some deep breathing can help to bring your body into a parasympathetic response - slowing down your heart rate and helping you to feel calmer.

Find your nearest wall, and come to sit 6 inches away. As you lower your back and head to the floor lift your feet up the wall. Adjust your distance from the wall so that your legs remain extended with minimal effort. To make it more comfortable, you can prop your hips up on blankets or a pillow. This pose can be held for 5-10 minutes and when you’re ready to release, bend your knees and hug them into your chest or take the soles of the feet together where the wall and floor meet. Pause here for a few breaths before rolling to one side. Again, pause here to prevent lightheadedness before finding your way up to a seat.

Give these a try whenever you’re feeling anxious, and come back to them whenever you need.